Central Penn College - The Paralegal Profession: Growth, Stature & Good Pay

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September 6, 2018 The Paralegal Profession: Growth, Stature & Good Pay

“Paralegals are the unsung heroes of the legal profession,” says John DeLeo, Legal Studies professor at Central Penn College. “They work behind-the-scenes, doing extremely valuable work that enable attorneys to successfully do their jobs.”

Other than giving legal advice or appearing in court, paralegals perform a multitude of essential duties, including conducting legal research... drafting documents... filing motions... interviewing witnesses... and maintaining legal files.

And they can earn a healthy salary doing so, too. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for a paralegal is $50,410.

Background

A faculty member since 1989, DeLeo is committed to helping his students succeed in a changing legal profession. He has written or co-written the following three textbooks:

  • The Student’s Guide to Understanding Constitutional Law, 2005
  • Administrative Law, 2008
  • The Pennsylvania Paralegal, 2009

One of the positive changes he’s seen recently is how paralegals are viewed by their profession.

“Before paralegals, legal secretaries were the primary support for law firms,” says DeLeo. “Their time spent on tasks couldn’t be billed out as a line item to the client, whereas the time for a paralegal’s work can be billed.”

Double-digit job growth

The BLS is projecting that the number of paralegal jobs will increase by 15% from 2016 to 2026.

DeLeo attributes this growth to two main factors: “One, increased number of legal cases, and two, paralegals are very cost-effective compared to attorneys.”

“As the population grows, so do the number of legal cases, which creates more opportunities for paralegals,” explains DeLeo.

Recent graduates of Central Penn’s legal studies program currently work or have worked as paralegals at the following area law firms:

  • McNess, Wallace & Nurick, LLP
  • Moellman Alex
  • Stambaugh Law P.C.
  • Schmidt Kramer
  • The Banks Law Group
  • Mincey & Fitzpatrick, LLC, in Philadelphia

Immersed in the law

For students interested in pursuing a law degree, becoming a paralegal makes a lot of sense. 

“A paralegal is automatically one step ahead of his or her classmates in areas of legal terminology, legal documents, legal research and writing and office procedure,” says DeLeo. “At Central Penn, we thoroughly prepare our students for the career they want in the legal profession.”

For more information on Central Penn’s legal services program, go here.

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